Las Vegas gunman may have had accomplice


Las Vegas: Police believe Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock may have had an accomplice as he prepared for the deadliest massacre in modern US history, amassing guns for more than a year and leading what has been described as "a secret life".

His Australian girlfriend Marilou Danley, who has been with FBI agents since returning to the US from the Philippines on Wednesday, said she saw no signs that her "kind, caring, quiet" partner was planning such an act.

Ms Danley, 62, said she thought her partner was trying to break up with her when he bought her a plane ticket to the Philippines two weeks ago and then wired her $US100,000 ($127,000) for her to buy a house there.

"I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him. He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen," she said in a statement released on Thursday.

"It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone."

Paddock, a retired accountant and multimillionaire gambler, killed 58 people and injured about 500 when he fired on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival from his 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel on Sunday.

More than 100 investigators have been working to establish a profile of the antisocial and wealthy Paddock but are yet to find a motive or any "trigger" point.

"What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring ammunition and weapons and living a secret life, much of which we'll never fully understand," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.

On Thursday, authorities revealed:

  • Paddock had owned guns since the 1980s but, in the past year, has bought 33 guns from multiple dealers in four states.
  • Aside from the 47 guns across the hotel room and his two Nevada homes, he had 1600 rounds of ammunition and 22 kilograms of ammonium nitrate in his car at the hotel. It's unclear what he planned to do with the explosives.
  • There are indications he planned to survive the incident.

On September 22, Paddock booked an Airbnb room at the luxury Ogden suites with a view of the Life is Beautiful festival, featuring New Zealand pop star Lorde, Sheriff Lombardo said. He may have intended to attack that festival but backed out, or he may have been using it for planning purposes.

On September 28, he checked into the Mandalay Bay, asking for a corner room with "a better view" and spending four days wheeling in suitcases of guns, setting up four cameras, barricading a door and refusing to let housekeeping staff in. The room was reportedly complimentary because he was such a regular, high-spending gambler.

Mr Lombardo said he believed Paddock was not acting alone.

"You've got to make the assumption that he had to have some help at some point," he said. "Maybe he's super [powered] working out all of this on his own but it's hard to believe that."

A timeline outlined on Thursday revealed that a hotel security guard, Jesus Campos, located Paddock just 12 minutes after the gunfire began and probably prevented further shots being fired.

He was responding to calls from guests who heard windows smashing and gunfire above them and, after seeing Paddock's door ajar, approached the suite.

Using an elaborate camera set up, Paddock was able to see Campos approaching and fired 200 rounds through the hotel room door, hitting the guard in the right thigh. He stopped firing at the crowd at that point.

Campos waited for police to arrive so he could give them his master key. He kept evacuating guests until police forced him to seek medical treatment.

"His bravery was amazing," Mr Lombardo said.

Seventy-five minutes of terror

10.05pm First shots were fired by Stephen Paddock, according to CCTV from the concert venue.

10.12pm First officers arrive on 31st floor after an ex-military hotel guest reports gunfire coming from directly above him.

10.15pm Last shots fired by gunman after about 10 minutes of continuous firing.

10.17pm Two officers arrive on the 32nd floor.

10.18pm Security guard Jesus Campos, at the other end of the floor, says he has been shot through the doors of room 32135.

10.26pm-10.30pm Eight more officers arrive on the 32nd floor and move down the hallway evacuating guests.

10.55pm Eight officers arrive at a stairwell at the opposite end of the hallway nearest the gunman's room.

11.20pm Police storm the room and find Paddock's body. They took considerable time to storm it because he was no longer firing on the crowd.

11.27pm Police storm a second room in the suite that was barricaded and find nothing.

This story Las Vegas gunman may have had accomplice first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.